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Working memory (WM), an important posit in cognitive science, allows one to temporarily store and manipulate information in the service of ongoing tasks. WM has been traditionally classified as an explicit memory system—that is, as operating on and maintaining only consciously perceived information. Recently, however, several studies have questioned this assumption, purporting to provide evidence for unconscious WM. In this article, we focus on visual working memory (VWM) and critically examine these studies as well as studies of unconscious perception that seem to provide indirect evidence for unconscious WM. Our analysis indicates that current evidence does not support an unconscious WM store, though we offer independent reasons to think that WM may operate on unconsciously perceived information.


This article was originally published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, available at DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2018.00078.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0).



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